Mr Barclay suggested that DE&I is the responsibility of all staff.
The Health Secretary has ordered the NHS to stop recruiting for jobs focused on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).
In a letter to the heads of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), Steve Barclay says he is “concerned that many local NHS organisations are actively recruiting into dedicated DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) roles”.
He noted, “Current live adverts include jobs with salaries of up to £96,376, above the basic full-time pay for a newly promoted consultant.”
Mr Barclay suggested that DE&I is the responsibility of all staff and instead suggested the money should be spent on frontline roles.
He continued in the letter, “I do not consider that this represents value for money, even more so at a time when budgets are under pressure”.
Subsequently, he instructed NHS organisations to cease recruitment into standalone DE&I roles.
A false division.
Health leaders have criticised Mr Barclay’s comments after a spate of reports which identify ongoing systemic issues with racism across the health service.
Royal College of Nursing Chief Nurse, Professor Nicola Ranger, said: “The Health Secretary is playing politics and trying to create a false division – frontline staff know the importance of diversity in leadership, even if this government is shunning it in a culture war.
“Just earlier today, the care regulator warned the Health Secretary of damaging and stark inequalities being experienced by patients.
“The discrimination faced by staff and patients alike is systemic, it perpetuates poor health outcomes for patients and impacts the wellbeing of staff, including pushing them out of the health service. This government and the next has to turn that around.
“Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is critical to improving the culture of the NHS and delivering the best outcomes for all our patients.”